Daily Content Archive

(as of Sunday, May 13, 2012)
Word of the Day

illusionist

Definition:(noun) Someone who performs magic tricks to amuse an audience.
Synonyms:conjurer, magician, prestidigitator
Usage: The illusionist snapped his fingers and was suddenly holding a dove, much to the delight of his adoring audience.
Article of the Day

George Curzon

Curzon (1859-1925) was a British statesman and champion of the colonial ideal. A member of the minor aristocracy, he was known for his intelligence as well as his ego. Viceroy of India when the Indian famine claimed up to 9 million lives, he instituted a number of reforms before eventually resigning in 1905 over a spat with a field marshal. He then served as chancellor of Oxford and became foreign secretary in 1919. What was the one thing he desperately wanted, and did not get, before he died? More...
This Day in History

Lei Áurea: Slavery Abolished in Brazil (1888)

By the 1870s, the plantation culture of northeast Brazil was already crumbling, and the growth of the movement to abolish slavery threatened it even more. The slave trade had been abolished in 1850, and a law for gradual emancipation was passed in 1871. In 1888, while Pedro II was in Europe and his daughter Isabel was governing, slavery was completely abolished—making Brazil the last Western nation to do so. The law that officially abolished slavery was called Lei Áurea, which means what? More...
Today's Birthday

Beatrice "Bea" Arthur (1922)

Arthur was an American actress, comedian, and singer whose lengthy career began on the stage. In 1966, she won a Tony award for her role in the musical Mame. She went on to achieve fame on television as the character Maude Findlay on the 1970s sitcoms All in the Family and Maude and as Dorothy Zbornak on the 1980s sitcom The Golden Girls, winning Emmy Awards for both roles. Arthur appeared in what notoriously poorly received 1978 holiday TV special? More...
Quotation of the Day
The sea—this truth must be confessed—has no generosity. No display of manly qualities—courage, hardihood, endurance, faithfulness—has ever been known to touch its irresponsible consciousness of power.

Joseph Conrad (1857-1924)

Idiom of the Day

fair-weather fan

A person who is supportive of and enthusiastic about a sports team only when that team is performing well. More...
Today's Holiday

Lemuralia

In ancient Rome, the lemures were the ghosts of the family's dead, who were considered to be troublesome and therefore had to be exorcized on a regular basis. The Lemuralia, or Lemuria, was a yearly festival held on the 9th, 11th, and 13th of May to get rid of the lemures. Participants walked barefoot, cleansed their hands three times, and threw black beans behind them nine times to appease the spirits of the dead. On the third day of the festival, a merchants' festival was held to ensure a prosperous year for business. More...
In the News

Mural Discovery Counters Maya Doomsday Myth

Archeologists have found new evidence debunking the myth that the Maya believed the world would end on December 21, 2012. Excavations at Xultún, a Maya city rediscovered in the early 20th century, revealed calculations, including dates some 7,000 years in the future, painted on the wall of what is believed to be a scribe's workroom. Perhaps more significant is the fact that this is the only known mural adorning an ancient Maya house. The simple fact that it exists would suggest that there are other such artworks that have yet to be discovered. More...
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